Arabs may impose Libya no-fly zone

International concern grows over violence in Libya with Arab state ministers saying they could impose a "no-fly" zone.

    Amr Moussa has served the post of secretary-general for the Arab League for 10 years [EPA]

    The Arab League has said it may impose a "no fly" zone on Libya in co-ordination with the African Union if fighting continues in Libya.

    Wednesday’s Arab League ministers' meeting in Cairo rejected any direct outside military intervention in Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi is trying to put down a revolt threatening his four decades in power. They reiterated their condemnation of his use of force.

    The Arab resolution called on the Libyan government to respond to the "legitimate demands of the Libyan people" and to stop bloodshed. The Libyan authorities must lift restrictions on media and mobile networks and allow the delivery of aid.

    The Arab League demanded "the preservation of the unity of Libyan lands and civil peace" - similar to the language it used in the run-up to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    Libya suspension

    Their resolution confirmed Libya's suspension from the organisation until it responded to demands such as allowing freedom of expression.

    "The situation in Libya is sorrowful and it is not correct that we accept it or live with it," Amr Moussa, the League's secretary general, said at the opening session.

    "The Arab League will not stand with its hands tied while the blood of the brotherly Libyan people is spilt," Moussa said.

    Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin reporting from Egypt's capital, said: "At this stage, all the Arab League is going to consider or at least study with the member states of the African Union, the possibility of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. That obviously depends on a great deal of military capabilities and more importantly what type of fly zone is going to be imposed.

    "When I was speaking to an official at the Arab League, he said that imposing a no-fly zone may be detrimental to air traffic over Libya and may not provide the kind of cover that is needed to protect the civilian population.

    The Arab League has suspended the membership of Muammar Gaddafi's government in protest at its crackdown on protesters who have risen up against his rule.

    Al Jazeera has learnt that both Gaddafi and Moussa have agreed to a peace plan from Venezuela's Hugo Chavez to end the crisis.

    Chavez's proposal

    In another development, Andres Izarra, Venezuela's information minister, said his country's leader, Hugo Chavez, had spoken to Gaddafi and laid out his proposal to seek a negotiated solution to the violence in Libya.

    Sources told Al Jazeera that during Tuesday's phone call Gaddafi accepted the plan, which would involve a commission from Latin America, Europe and the Middle East trying to reach a negotiated outcome between him and rebel forces.

    Al Jazeera's Dima Khatib reported on Thursday, citing senior government sources in Caracas, that Venezuela's foreign minister had spoken with Moussa who also agreed to the plan.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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